Rudy Giuliani think that Barack Obama doesn’t love America. Scott Walker won’t say whether or not Obama is a Christian. Both of them have spent the weekend being relentlessly mocked in the press.

Why engage these questions? President Obama isn’t up for re-election in 2016, and speculating on what’s in his heart is not only tasteless, it’s pointless from a policy perspective. So why do it?

Because credibility with the GOP base demands it. Conservative media mouthpieces have spent so much time not only denigrating any social policy to the left of Attila the Hun but questioning the President’s very allegiance and faith, that conservative candidates looking to win a GOP primary can’t help but engage on these most ridiculous of questions.

All of which buoys the conventional wisdom that any Republican candidate to emerge from the GOP primary clown car is going to wind up weakened and battered by the process rather than strengthened. Republican primary voters wouldn’t have it any other way.

David Atkins

Follow David on Twitter @DavidOAtkins. David Atkins is a writer, activist and research professional living in Santa Barbara. He is a contributor to the Washington Monthly's Political Animal and president of The Pollux Group, a qualitative research firm.